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Zuiderdam Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,070 Reviews

Good but not Great

Zuiderdam Cruise Review by mholder

0 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2020
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

We've cruised Royal Carib, Princess, Norwegian, and Carnival in the past. I would put say that the Zuiderdam was better than Carnival and Norwegian, the same as Royal Caribbean, but not quite as nice as princess. We were a party of 6 with 2 rooms. 8111 and 1035. 3 middle aged adults and 3 in their 20s.

The good: The ports were excellent. Not overcrowded and full days at each port. We didn't do any cruise excursions, instead booking things on our own. Captain Marvins in the Cayman was a highlight and so reasonably priced. The rooms were pretty darned good. Not fancy, but plenty of space, especially in the large inside cabin. It was more spacious than the balcony by far! The bathroom of the balcony room was very good and there was a nice privacy curtain between the sofa bed and big bed in 8111. 3 adults in the balcony room were tight. You couldn't be super tall and still fit on the sofa bed. It would work best for a child. The live music on the ship was fun and plentiful. And you could get a deck chair without committing highway robbery - a nice change. The taco bar and the burger joint were both tasty and easy to use. The game room/library at the very front of the ship was a great place for puzzles, reading, and games. The drinks there were excellent. The Kennedy Center music was outstanding. The singers in BB King Blues club killed it! They were awesome. Public places were clean and they weren't trying to sell you something at every turn. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze. The National Geographic programming was enjoyed by all ages in my party.

The average: The food. It was only 'OK.' The dining room fare was reasonably bland and portions were small. You could have as much as you wanted. But you had to ask for more of things or multiples. The service was average to good. The buffet was just as good as the dining room. I would skip the dining room altogether next time and opt for the buffets, burger restaurant and taco bar. Daily different ice cream flavors were a treat, though they ran out of cones multiple times. The shows on the main stage were on par with other cruises. Perhaps a bit less heavy on production value, but I'm actually okay with that. Balcony space was sufficient for 2 persons and a small table between. It was fine, but nothing to write home about.

The bad: Ask for egg-crate mattress toppers if you have 3 in a room and for the pull out bed. Otherwise, you'll feel a metal bar in your back all night long. With the topper, it was reasonably comfortable. The room where they play the classical Kennedy Center music was always packed and far too small for how many wanted to attend. You had to arrive VERY early to get a seat. The old duffers find a seat there and sit and stay through more than one performance. If you aren't into music then there isn't much to do on this cruise. Endless trivia matches .. blah. One of the dueling piano guys was not a good singer. Skip that. I got massively ill near the cruise, vomiting, fever, chills, then had transitioned right into an awful cold that lasted weeks. Covid-19? I don't think so, but it makes me wonder. I'm guessing noro virus and a bad cold. No America's Test Kitchen. We booked the cruise primarily for this and it was cancelled without notice. All the signs for it were still up on the ship, but it wasn't happening. It took half way through the cruise for someone on staff to admit to us that they lost the contract for this. Note: they were still showing this as an activity and selling cruises with this as listed as entertainment when we boarded the ship. Shame on Holland America for the bait and switch. This put a big hole in the ship's entertainment that wasn't filled.

Overall, a good but not great cruise. The ship older and lots of spaces seem a bit small. On the other hand, it was easy to navigate and learn the space because it wasn't a shopping mall at sea. I would recommend it for someone who wants to relax and focus on the ports most of all.

mholder's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Good balcony cabin. Needs a mattress topper or the pull out sofa isn't usable. Also, we had second room - a large inside stateroom near the theater. It was VERY spacious and more than worth the upgrade from standard inside room. I highly recommend that one. The ship is small enough that unless you have little kids, opt for the larger inside room even if it's not near your second room. It's worth it.

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